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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2024

Laboratory Life Cycle Maintenance of the Soft Tick Ornithodoros tartakovskyi

Adam Sobieski

Senior, Microbiology and Biomedical science


The soft tick genus Ornithodoros, of the family Argasidae, is associated with bacterial and viral diseases such as tickborne relapsing fever and tickborne encephalitis virus complex. The purpose of this project was to generate life cycle history data for laboratory maintenance of the soft tick Ornithodoros tartakovskyi. Ticks in this project were regularly blood fed and lifecycle history events were quantified. Events included: how many nymphal instar stages occur in this life cycle; how many minutes it takes different lifecycle stages to engorge while blood feeding; how many minutes it takes for an engorged tick to detach during blood feeding, how many days it takes for female ticks to produce eggs, how many eggs are produced, and how many days it takes for eggs to hatch. This data and continued collection of data will be included in a manuscript entitled ‘Laboratory Maintenance of Ornithodoros tartakovskyi’ that we will submit to the peer-reviewed journal Ticks and Tickborne Disease. Understanding maintenance of this species in a laboratory setting is key to advancing research in the future. This project is aimed at outlining approaches for continued community research. My work, “Illuminated Death Cap” is an incense burner or tea light holder in the form of a Amanita phalloides (death cap) mushroom. The functional household object’s secret use, such as for a butter dish, a worry stone, or a light source are meant to replicate how nature nurtures our body and mind, but this use can only be discovered through deep exploration.

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